Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Does fun have place in learning?

I've been reading recently some other blogs about the place of 'fun' in learning and it has led me to reflect on my thoughts and attitude to this idea.

For me, it is pretty simple- I think we learn something best when we are engaged, feel that we have a shot of being successful and enjoy it. In other words, as well as academic competence, there is a huge emotional component to learning.

If we think about how we learn, what we remember learning or how we were motivated to continue learning, fun has a huge place in it. An example from my own family that I can think of is when we went on a family holiday and during this time, went to a restaurant where they were having a salsa demonstration, that we could all join in on. My daughter loved it, had a great time, felt it was something she could be good at, so much so, that she continued on learning salsa and became a championship dancer. ( Meanwhile, at the same restaurant, my other daughter and I, who were partners, just argued about who was going to lead and never danced another salsa step again!)

I read an article called 'Serendipitous Interaction Key to Firms' Workplace Design' by Stephen Henn, talking about the cultures of innovation and creativity at Google and Facebook. The leaders of these organisations intentionally create opportunities for their employees to have fun, as they believe that it will lead to the creation of better products and services.

While our students aren't products or services, I feel that their attitude towards learning and coming to school will be enhanced if it is a positive place to be, they are engaged, they feel that they want to learn and yes...they have fun!

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